Chris Vance Speaks on Mental

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Will Chris Vance be the next Hugh Laurie? Will Mental be the next House?

It's impossible not to compare these shows, as both air on Fox and both feature unorthodox doctors played by British actors.

The former premires tonight. Here are excerpts from an interview Vance gave TV Guide about the promising drama:

TV Guide: Is Dr. Gallagher's sometimes irreverent approach based on any sort of real methodology that's used out there?
Vance: It's a mixture. I think Jack questions conventional treatment all the time. If he finds it appropriate, he'll obviously use it. But I think he wants to push the limits and find out what's best for patients on an individual basis. He gets into their mind at first, and once he gets an empathetic understanding of what's going on, he thinks outside the box.

Mental Scene

TV Guide: This show has a difficult line to toe in depicting mental illness, because it must never come across as exploiting it for entertainment value.
Vance: Absolutely. One of the difficult things about dealing with the subject matter is that it's often considered taboo, if you like — and I don't really know why. I look at it this way: Would you tell someone with, say, cancer, "Yeah, there's something wrong with you. Just give up"? You wouldn't.

You'd get treatment for it, exploring every possibility. It's the same with mental health. While we sort of have to entertain, we were very aware of the issues at hand, and if nothing else we try to give them a platform. That was a decision I made in forming Jack. Alright, we can play up the fun of him being "crazy" himself, but we've got to offset that with a compassionate understanding of who he's treating, why he's treating them and how best to treat them.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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